我国知识产权保护社会满意度大幅提升

During the discussion of this question, Sir George Savile brought forward another. This was a Bill for relieving Catholics, by repealing the penalties and disabilities imposed by the 10th and 11th of King William III. The hardships sought to be removed were these:The prohibition of Catholic priests or Jesuits teaching their own doctrines in their own churches, such an act being high treason in natives and felony in foreigners; the forfeitures by Popish heirs of their property who received their education abroad, in such cases the estates going to the nearest Protestant heir; the power given to a Protestant to take the estate of his father, or next kinsman, who was a Catholic, during his lifetime; and the debarring all Catholics from acquiring legal property by any other means than descent. Dunning declared the restrictions a disgrace to humanity, and perfectly useless, as they were never enforced; but Sir George Savile said that was not really the fact, for that he himself knew Catholics who lived in daily terror of informers and of the infliction of the law. Thurlow, still Attorney-General, but about to ascend the woolsack, promptly supported the Bill; and Henry Dundas, the Lord Advocate of Scotland, lamented that it would afford no relief to his own country. These Acts did not affect Scotland, as they had been passed before the union; but Scotland had a similar Act passed by its own Parliament, and he promised to move for the repeal of this Scottish Act in the next Session. In the Commons there was an almost total unanimity on the subject; and in the Lords, the Bishop of Peterborough was nearly the only person who strongly opposed it. He asked that if, as it was argued, these Acts were a dead letter, why disturb the dead?

Great Britain, which had made some show of restoring the legitimate prince, soon became satisfied that Bernadotte would lean to its alliance. Meanwhile Alexander of Russia displayed more and more decided symptoms of an intention to break with France. He hastened to make peace with the Turks, and to pour his sentimental assurances into the ear of Count Stadingk, the Swedish ambassador. As he called God to witness, in 1807, that he had no wish to touch a single Swedish village, so now he professed to be greatly troubled that he had been obliged to seize all Finland. "Let us forget the past," said the Czar. "I find myself in terrible circumstances, and I swear, upon my honour, that I never wished evil to Sweden. But now that unhappy affair of Finland is over, and I wish to show my respect to your king, and my regard for the Crown Prince. Great misfortunes are frequently succeeded by great prosperities. A Gustavus Adolphus issued from Sweden for the salvation of Germany, and who knows what may happen again?" And he began to unveil his disgust at the encroachments of Buonaparte. "What does he mean," he said, "by his attempt to add the north of Germany to his empire, and all its mercantile towns? He might grasp a dozen cities of Germany, but Hamburg, Lübeck, and Bremen'our Holy Trinity,' as Romanoff saysI am weary of his perpetual vexations!" The result was the offer of Norway to Sweden as the price of Bernadotte's adhesion to the proposed alliance. Great Britain also offered to Sweden as a colony, Surinam, Demerara, or Porto Rico.

Sir Walter Scott was the master of the ceremonies on this memorable occasion. He was now in the height of his popularity as the "Great Unknown." His romances had revived or created the spirit of chivalry, and ministered to the intense nationality of the Scottish people in general, and the Highland clans in particular. In arranging the programme Sir Walter had as many parts to play as ever tasked the Protean genius of his friend Mathews. The bewildered local magistrates threw themselves on him for advice and direction. He had to arrange everything, from the ordering of a procession to the cut of a button and the embroidering of a cross. Provosts, bailies, and deacon-conveners of trades were followed, in hurried succession, by swelling chieftains wrangling about the relative positions their clans had occupied on the field of Bannockburn, which they considered as constituting the authentic precedent for determining their respective places in the procession from the pier of Leith to the Canongate. It was apprehended that the enemy would return next day in greater force to renew the contest; but as they did not, the Commander-in-Chief seized the opportunity to summon the troops to join him in public thanksgiving to God for the victory. The year 1846 dawned upon the still undecided contest. The British gained most by the delay. The Governor-General had ordered up fresh troops from Meerut, Cawnpore, Delhi, and Agra. By the end of January Sir Hugh Gough had under his command 30,000 men of all arms. On every road leading to the scene of action, from Britain's Indian possessions, convoys were seen bearing provisions and stores of all sorts to the army; while reinforcements were pressing onward rapidly that they might share the glory by confronting the greatest danger. That danger was still grave. The Sikhs also were bringing up reinforcements, and strengthening their entrenched camp at the British side of the Sutlej, having constructed a bridge of boats for the conveyance of their troops and stores across the river. The enemy had established a considerable magazine at a fortified village some miles from the camp, and Sir Harry Smith proceeded at the head of a[599] detachment to attack it. But Sirdar Runjeet Singh intercepted him, cut off and captured all his baggage; but being reinforced, he met the enemy again at a place on the Sutlej, called Aliwal. The Sikh army, which seemed in the best possible order and discipline, were drawn up in imposing array, 20,000 strong with 70 guns, while the British were 9,000 with 32. After a series of splendid charges the enemy were driven successively from every position, and fled in confusion across the river. Several of the British horsemen followed the guns into the river, and spiked them there. The loss of the Sikhs is said to have been 3,000, while that of the British was only 673 killed and wounded. The moral effect of this victory over such unequal forces was of the utmost advantage to the rest of the army (January 28th, 1846).

There was besides a tax called Church Cess, levied by Protestants in vestry meetings upon Roman Catholics for cleaning the church, ringing the bell, washing the minister's surplice, purchasing bread and wine for the communion, and paying the salary of the parish clerk. This tax was felt to be a direct and flagrant violation of the rights of conscience, and of the principles of the British Constitution; and against it there was a determined opposition, which manifested itself in tumultuous and violent assemblages at the parish churches all over the country on Easter Monday, when the rector or his curate, as chairman of the meeting, came into angry collision with flocks who disowned him, and denounced him as a tyrant, a persecutor, and a robber. The magnitude of the interests at stake, the difficulty of estimating the real character and extent of the threatened evil, and the alarming consequences that must ensue if the worst fears should be realised, rendered immediate action necessary. A Cabinet Council was held on the 31st of October. From what passed on that occasion, says Sir Robert Peel, in the account which he has left of these events, "it was easy to foresee that there was little prospect of a common accord as to the measures to be adopted." On the 5th of November he apprised her Majesty of the probability of serious differences of opinion. At the adjourned meeting of the Cabinet, on the 6th of November, he submitted certain proposals for the consideration of his colleagues, which he has recorded in the following outline of these events:

The Archbishop of Canterbury moved the rejection of the Bill; and was supported by the Archbishops of York and Armagh, the Bishops of London, Durham, and Salisbury; Lords Winchilsea, Berkeley, Tenterden, and Eldon. The chief defenders of the measure were Lords Grey, Lansdowne, Plunket, Goderich, and Lyndhurst. On a division, the second reading was carried by 217 against 112. On the 10th of April the Bill was read a third time, by a majority of 104; the numbers being 213 for it, and 109 against it. The sweeping majorities in the Lords were still more astounding than those in the Commons; and they spread the utmost consternation through the ranks of the Conservatives, who felt as if the very foundations of society were giving way, and the pillars of the Constitution were falling. The Lords had hitherto thrown out the Emancipation Bills as fast as they came to them, by majorities varying from forty to fifty. Lord Eldon was their prophet, and the old Conservative peers had followed his guidance implicitly for a quarter of a century; but during that time a generation of hereditary legislators had grown up, who had as thorough a contempt for the ex-Chancellor's antiquated prejudices as he had for their youth and[298] inexperience. Lord Eldon had, however, some compensation for being thus deserted in the House of Peers by many of his followers, and having his authority as a statesman disregarded, as well as for the marked neglect of him by the Ministry, in the sympathy and confidence of the distressed king, who was shocked beyond measure at the conduct of the House of Lords. When a reluctant consent was wrung from his Majesty to have the measure brought forward by the Cabinet, he felt, after all, that he was doing nothing very rash; he had the strongest assurance that the Bill would never pass the Lords. He told Lord Eldon that, after the Ministers had fatigued him by many hours' conversation on the painful subject, he simply said, "Go on." But he also produced copies of letters which he had written, in which he assented to their proceeding with the Bill, adding, certainly, very strong expressions of the pain and misery the consent cost him. In his perplexity he evidently wished to avail himself of Eldon's casuistry to get out of the difficulty by retracting; but the latter was constrained to tell him "it was impossible to maintain that his assent had not been expressed, or to cure the evils which were consequential." The enthusiasm which now pervaded the whole Italian peninsula was unbounded, and broke forth in frantic expressions of joy and triumph. The days of Continental despotism seemed numbered at last. Everything promised well for the cause of Italian freedom and unity. The Italian troops stationed at Bergamo, Cremona, Brescia, and Rovigo joined the insurgents. The Grand Duke of Tuscany set his troops in motion; the Pope blessed the volunteers; even Naples sent a contingent. The Austrian garrisons had to abandon Padua and several other places, while the great fortress of Verona was held with difficulty. In the south of Italy the cause of despotism seemed to be going down rapidly. Deceived by the promises[583] of the King of Naples, the people of Sicily determined to trust him no longer. In January, 1848, an address to the Sicilians was issued from Palermo, which stated that prayers, pacific protestations and demonstrations had all been treated by Ferdinand with contempt. Palermo would receive with transport every Sicilian who should come armed to sustain the common cause, and establish reformed institutions, "in conformity with the progress and will of Italy and of Pius IX." Property was to be respected, robbery was to be punished as high treason, and whoever was in want would be supplied at the common charge. The king's birthday was kept by unfurling the banner of revolution, and calling the citizens to arms. The royal troops retired into the barracks, the forts, and the palace, leaving the streets and squares in possession of the insurgents. The determination of the Sicilians caused the weak and wavering king, Ferdinand II., to yield; and on the 28th of January a royal decree appeared upon the walls of Naples, granting a Constitution for the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Orders were sent the same day to Palermo for the withdrawal of the Neapolitan troops, and an amnesty for political offences soon was published. The troops remained in the garrison, however, and occasional conflicts took place between them and the citizens till the 2nd of May, when an armistice was agreed to, which lasted to the 2nd of August. In the meantime the elections had taken place under the new Constitution, which the king had promulgated; but the Neapolitan Chamber proceeded to modify it, to which the king objected. The people, led on by the National Guard, which had been established, determined to support the Assembly. On the 15th of May, therefore, barricades were erected in the streets, the royal palace was occupied by troops, and artillerymen stood by their guns with lighted matches in their hands. The accidental firing of a gun led to a collision with the Swiss troops; thereupon, a tremendous battle ensued, lasting for eight hours, in which the royal troops were completely victorious.

It would be useless to encumber these pages with a detailed narrative of the desultory conflicts that occurred at Candahar, where General Nott commanded, amidst the greatest difficulties, until General England came to his relief on the 10th of May; or at Khelat-i-Ghilzai, a post entrusted to Captain Lawrence; or in the country about Ghuznee, the garrison of which, commanded by Captain Palmer, was compelled to surrender for want of water. He was an officer in General Nott's division, and by his brother officers the fall of the place was regarded as more disgraceful than the loss of Cabul. At length Generals Pollock and Nott were enabled to overawe the Afghans. They were now at the head of two forces in excellent health and spirits, eager to advance on Cabul and avenge the national honour of Great Britain, which had been so grievously insulted. But Lord Ellenborough had come to the resolution that it was no longer necessary to imperil the armies of Great Britain, and with the armies the Indian Empire, by occupying Afghanistan. All that was now required to be done rested solely upon military considerations, and especially upon regard to the safety of the detached bodies of our troops at Jelalabad, at Ghuznee, at Khelat-i-Ghilzai, and Candahar. He was, therefore, feverishly anxious that the troops should retire at the earliest possible moment, and sent orders to that effect to Pollock at Jelalabad and to Nott at Candahar.

"The Clare election supplied the manifest proof of an abnormal and unhealthy condition of the public mind in Irelandthe manifest proof that the sense of a common grievance and the sympathies of a common interest were beginning to loosen the ties which connect different classes of men in friendly relations to each other, to weaken the force of local and personal attachments, and to unite the scattered elements of society into a homogeneous and disciplined mass, yielding willing obedience to the assumed authority of superior intelligence hostile to the law and to the Government which administered it. There is a wide distinction (though it is not willingly recognised by a heated party) between the hasty concession to unprincipled agitation and provident precaution against the explosion of public feeling gradually acquiring the strength which makes it irresistible. 'Concede nothing to agitation,' is the ready cry of those who are not responsiblethe vigour of whose decisions is often proportionate to their own personal immunity from danger, and imperfect knowledge of the true state of affairs. A prudent Minister, before he determines against all concessionagainst any yielding or compromise of former opinionsmust well consider what it is that he has to resist, and what are his powers of resistance. His task would be an easy one if it were sufficient to resolve that he would yield nothing to violence or to the menace of physical force. In this case of the Clare election, and of its natural consequences, what was the evil to be apprehended? Not force, not violence, not any act of which law could take cognisance. The real danger was in the peaceable and legitimate exercise of a franchise according to the will and conscience of the holder. In such an exercise of that franchise, not merely permitted, but encouraged and approved by constitutional law, was involved a revolution of the electoral system in Irelandthe transfer of political power, so far as it was connected with representation, from one party to another. The actual transfer was the least of the evil; the process by which it was to be effectedthe repetition in each county of the scenes of the Clare electionthe fifty-pound free-holders, the gentry to a man polling one way, their alienated tenantry anotherall the great interests of the county broken down'the universal desertion' (I am quoting the expressions of Mr. Fitzgerald)the agitator and the priest laughing to scorn the baffled landlordthe local heaving and throes of society on every casual vacancy in a countythe universal convulsion at a general electionthis was the danger to be apprehended; those were the evils to be resisted. What was the power of resistance? 'Alter the law, and remodel the franchise,' was the ready, the improvident response. If it had been desired to increase the strength of a formidable confederacy, and, by rallying round it the sympathies of good men and of powerful parties in Great Britain, to insure for it a signal triumph, to extinguish the hope of effecting an amicable adjustment of the Catholic question, and of applying a corrective to the real evils and abuses of elective franchise, the best way to attain these pernicious ends would have been to propose to Parliament, on the part of the Government, the abrupt extinction of the forty-shilling franchise in Ireland, together with the continued maintenance of civil disability."

[See larger version]

[149]

THE PORTEOUS MOB. (See p. 67.) [After the Painting by James Drummond, R.S.A.]